‘We are Waterloo’ displays community diversity

Victoria Panacci

On Jan. 17,  the We Are Waterloo Portrait Project display will commence at the City of Waterloo Museum, located at Conestoga Mall.

The We Are Waterloo Portrait Project is comprised of self-portraits created by those within the Waterloo community with the purpose of displaying the diversity within Waterloo.

The project was created through a joint effort of the arts and culture department and the City of Waterloo Museum.

The project is also an initiative put forth by the City of Waterloo, in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday with the purpose of recognizing the many faces proud to be a part of the community.

The goal of the We Are Waterloo Portrait Project is to create connections between arts, culture and identity, while promoting diversity in Waterloo, as said by Katie Wilde, culture program coordinator at the City of Waterloo.

Over 500 self-portraits will be displayed, which were made upon attending one of the 20 artist-led public workshops that took place all over the Waterloo community throughout 2016.

“Everybody was invited to drop in and pick up a paint brush or a pen, whatever the artist’s medium was and create a self-portrait,” said Karen VandenBrink, manager for the City of Waterloo Museum.

Including Wilfrid Laurier University students, a public workshop became available during Orientation Week at the beginning of the fall semester.

Many artists from Waterloo and the surrounding area contributed to lead the workshops, allowing the participants to create a diverse collection of self-portraits.

“As a community art project, it is not an exhibition of individual art work, it’s a chance to see the community portrait as a whole and see all of these faces together in one place,” said Wilde.

Beginning on Jan. 17 and continuing until June 9, the exhibit will be displayed at the City of Waterloo Museum for visitors and those from the Waterloo community, to view the many faces that are proud to be a part of Waterloo.

“[The artwork is displayed to] create a snapshot of our community that is symbolic of our growing cultural diversity,” said VandenBrink.

Following the opening of the exhibit, there will be a reception on Jan. 26, from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the City of Waterloo Museum.

Those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP online prior to the reception. Admission is always free.

“I like that there are always new things happening in Waterloo and the We are Waterloo Portrait Project is another thing making this city unique,” said third-year communications studies student, Shannon Toms.

The We Are Waterloo Portrait Project invites everybody to visit the display and view Waterloo’s community art project.

“We’re just many faces, all different ages, all different cultures, all different and proud to be from Waterloo,” said VandenBrink.

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